“The most perfectly crafted two week trip to China for families – travelling in a small group but covering a large amount of China’s wow factors.”
Beijing | Great Wall of China | Sleeper train to Luoyang | Shaolin martial arts monastery | Long Men Grottoes or Caves | Xian | Cycling tour of Xian and city walls | Terracotta Warriors | Chengdu | Giant Panda Breeding Research Base | Yangshuo | Yangshuo mountains | Hong Kong
Description of China family holiday, Pandas & Warriors
This sixteen day China family holiday is no mean feat. Being able to take in Beijing, the Great Wall, the Yangshuo Mountains, the Terracotta Warriors, panda breeding and Hong Kong in one itinerary, while travelling with young people too, is thanks to a wonderfully crafted itinerary. And superb local guides. But don’t worry, there is plenty of rest time built in too, as this holiday is very much with children and families in mind.
The odyssey of this great country starts in its capital, Beijing. An adventurous city, for sure, the main attraction is The Forbidden City, a vast mammoth compound of almost 1,000 palaces, museums and pavilions. Other highlights include Tianamen Square, the Summer Palace and the iconic Temple of Heaven.
It feels as if China is full of icons really, the Great Wall being another one, although totally living up to its ‘great’ reputation. We walk on a relatively quiet section of the Wall, between Jinshanling and Simatai spending two days taking in this incredible series of fortifications stretching for over 21,000 km.
China does like to do things in a big way, another example of this being on our visit to the Long Men caves, with over 2300 grottoes boasting ancient sculptures, Buddhist images and temples carved into the limestone landscape. Similarly, Xi’an, an ancient city on the Silk Road route, is home to the world renowned Terracotta Army which we will also have time to take in on our tour.
As China is such a vast country, we need to take some fairly lengthy domestic journeys on this holiday, with one sleeper train trip between Beijing and the city of Luoyang. This is home to another Chinese icon, the revered Shaolin martial arts monastery which is birthplace of both Kung Fu and Zen Buddhism. As well as seeing the monks demonstrating their ancient skills, there will be an option to have a Kung Fu lesson here too.
We also take two internal flights on this tour. One to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province and home to the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base which we visit, with a chance to see these rare animals hopefully eating although they also spend a lot of time sleeping! One more flight takes us to Yangshuo, a rural village that is enveloped by dramatic karst limestone landscapes carved up into natural pyramids by the green waters of the Li River. A wonderful place to spend a couple of days, go hiking, cycling, on a river cruise or just mosey in the market.
And just as China keeps us on our toes in terms of eclectic landscapes and culture, we finish our trip in Hong Kong, a place with an infectious energy, surprisingly traditional culture and an all round cool place to be guided around. With highlights including Tsim Sha Tsui promenade, Victoria Harbour and a tram ride up to Victoria Peak, for a panoramic view of a very different China.
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Responsible tourism: China family holiday, Pandas & Warriors
Accommodation and Meals: On this trip we spend 12 nights in, 1 night in a village guesthouse and 1 on a sleeper train. All of the hotels we use are locally owned and locally staffed, which is way of boosting employment levels in the areas we visit. We also try to select accommodation for environmental awareness, which is still in its infancy in China. For example, the hotel in Beijing encourages clients switch off lights with signs, has optional daily linen changing and air-con is only turned on when temperatures hit 26 degrees outside. Where meals are not supplied, tour leaders will take clients to locally owned restaurants where food is authentic and either locally grown or sourced.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Community: Often people can experience quite a culture shock when travelling in China, so our local guides are always keen to help clients understand the culture better and to connect more genuinely with local communities. Part of this cultural exchange and support of community is made by visiting small businesses throughout the trip. There are several occasions where guests are encouraged to do this- for example, in the Muslim Quarter in Xi’an, there are bazaars and food markets where it is possible to support local producers and even see crafts and food made (dumplings, pancakes, fruit drinks etc.).
Local Craft and Culture: There is so much on offer in terms of culture on this trip. Just to name a few activities, we see the Great Wall and Forbidden City in Beijing, the Great Mosque and Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an and the Shaolin Temple, birthplace of Kung Fu, for a demonstration. There is even the chance to do a cooking lesson and make food with ingredients from Yangshuo market! Crafts are available throughout the trip and there are some wonderful, traditionally made souvenirs available- especially in Yangshuo. Leaders will be able to advise where the best places to shop are and what should be avoided e.g. traditional medicine made from endangered animals. Also in Hongkong, clients are advised against from trying shark fin soup which is a local specialty there.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 20 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
Reviews of China family holiday, Pandas & Warriors
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I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 04 Sep 2016 by Krishna Pindoria
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
The great Wall, Yangzte river and Yangshoui.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
It's a tiring and very full on trip so be prepared for a fully packed itinerary.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?